ISTANBUL — Turkish police arrested two people Wednesday after a hand grenade was hurled and shots were fired at officers guarding Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace, an Ottoman-era palace that is a major tourist attraction, the Istanbul governor’s office said. One police officer was slightly injured, according to the country’s state-run news agency.
Later Wednesday, at least eight Turkish soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb detonated by Kurdish rebels in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast region, the military said.
Police apprehended two people in an area close to the palace and seized two hand grenades, an automatic rifle, a hand gun and a large amount of ammunition, a statement from the Istanbul governor’s office said. It did not identify the suspects or give a motive for the attack.
However, the state-run Anadolu Agency said the two assailants are members of the outlawed leftist group the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army-Front, or DHKP-C. It did not cite a source for the report.
The DHKP-C claimed responsibility for an attack earlier this month in which two female assailants opened fire at the US Consulate in Istanbul. No one was hurt in the attack but one of the assailants was shot by police and hospitalized.
The attacks come amid a sharp rise in violence between Turkey’s security forces and the Kurdish rebels, and as Turkey has been conducting operations against the Islamic State group and others. Turkey last month rounded up more than 1,000 people linked to the Islamic State, the Kurdish rebels and the DHKP-C. Turkish warplanes, meanwhile, have raided PKK targets in Iraq and in southeast Turkey in tandem with airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria since late July.
Close to 100 people, most of them police and soldiers, have been killed since July in the renewed violence between the security forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, according to a count by The Associated Press.
An Islamic State propaganda video released this week called Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a traitor for allowing the US to use air bases for strikes against the group, and urged all Muslims in Turkey to join the Islamic State in its fight against “crusaders, atheists and tyrants.”
The prime minister has an office inside the 19th Century Dolmabahce palace, situated on the shores of the Bosphorus strait, but was in the capital Ankara at the time of the attack.